Business News Roundup — Arkansas hires Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema as Razorback head coach


Bret Bielema, head football coach for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, has been hired to be the next head coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

During his first six years, Bielema posted 60 wins, six bowl appearances, was ranked five times in the final AP Top 25, won two Big Ten titles and two trips to the Rose Bowl.

Bielema, 42, replaces John L. Smith, who was hired on an interim basis at Arkansas after Bobby Petrino was fired.

ASU’s Malzahn heading back to Auburn

Arkansas State University head football coach Gus Malzahn will return to Auburn to take over for fired Gene Chizik.

Malzahn, an Arkansas native and former University of Arkansas assistant coach, has coached at ASU for one season leading the team to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Malzahn was offensive coordinator when Auburn won the national championship in 2010.

Beebe comments on fiscal cliff

Gov. Mike Beebe said his Tuesday meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden regarding the “fiscal cliff” being debated in Washington, D.C., was an effort to promote compromise.

Beebe was part of a bipartisan group of six governors who met at the White House for nearly 90 minutes to discuss the impact of certain decisions on state budgets and economies.

“Our message was two-fold. First, the fiscal cliff is not where we want to go,” Beebe said. “Secondly, we all know we all need to share in the sacrifice. We’re not going to be hypocritical. We’re willing to do our part.”

Income tax growth steadies state revenues

Individual income taxes continue to support modest growth in Arkansas’ overall state revenues, as sales tax collections remain almost flat compared to forecast.

In its November revenue report, the state Department of Finance and Administration noted that year-to-date net available general revenues totaled $1.97 billion, up 2.8 percent above last year’s levels and 0.2 percent above forecast.

For the month of November, general revenues rose 2.3 percent above the previous year and 1.3 percent above forecast.

Entergy Arkansas completes utility purchase

Entergy Arkansas has completed the purchase of the Hot Spring Energy Facility, a power plant that sits less than a mile from where Arkansas Power and Light founder Harvey Couch ran the first transmission line between Malvern and Arkadelphia in 1913.

Arkansas Power and Light was part of a predecessor of utility companies to the modern-day Entergy system. Couch was the CEO and business leader who started Arkansas Power and Light and sister entities in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Entergy Arkansas announced plans to acquire the plant in 2011 and assumed ownership Nov. 30. The 620-megawatt, combined-cycle natural gas turbine unit was purchased from KGen Hot Spring LLC for about $253 million, a sizeable discount to the cost to construct a comparable facility.

Arkansas Best continues global supply chain services push

Fort Smith-based ABF Freight System said its global shipping services now reach through all of Europe and Turkey.

The company’s “Global Supply Chain Services” (ABF GSCS) uses ocean transport to provide “a single contact for full-container-load (FCL) and expedited less-than-container-load (LCL) supply chain solutions.” A similar service has been in place for Asia and India. The less-than-truckload company has offices in Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Coles named deputy director at Arkansas SBA

Jay Coles has been named deputy district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Arkansas District Office. In his role, he will be charged with expanding delivery of SBA’s loan programs and services throughout the state’s 75 counties. Coles’ 30-year banking career includes positions as regional sales manager and lending specialist in both the commercial and agribusiness unit for Wells Fargo Financial, regional credit manager at Telemark and vice president/marketing manager and credit analyst with Bank One in Louisville, Ky., where he focused on new product development and territory expansion.

Pediatric facility opens, will add 50 jobs

Pediatrics Plus opened a new 31,000-square-foot facility in Little Rock that will create 50 new jobs serving children and families with disabilities and developmental delays. The $7.2 million facility is located at 1900 Aldersgate Road in west Little Rock.

• • •

Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His email address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his Web site address is www.talkbusiness.net.